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Cincinnati -- The Kroger Co. says it expects to provide more than $6 million for hurricane relief efforts. Since Sept. 1, the company has been accepting customer donations at all of its 3,300 supermarkets, multi-department stores and convenience stores. In addition, Kroger’s 289,000 associates were also offered the opportunity to help and the company's foundations pledged to match associates' donations up to a total of $500,000.
In the first 17 days, customers and employees contributed more than $4.5 million, including the company's match. The funds will be forwarded directly to the American Red Cross for hurricane relief efforts.
"I am tremendously proud of the way our customers and associates across the country have responded to this tragedy," said David B. Dillon, Kroger chairman and CEO.
In addition, Kroger last week made available up to $1.5 million in aid, based upon local needs. Kroger division presidents in Memphis and Houston reached out to the governors of Texas, Mississippi, Arkansas and Tennessee to offer assistance as those states work to feed and shelter many thousands of evacuees displaced by Hurricane Katrina.
As a part of the company's aid, Kroger's southwest division in Texas has provided $50,000 to the Houston Katrina Relief Fund and donated $250,000 in gift cards to be distributed to evacuees currently living in Dallas and Houston. Kroger pharmacists are assisting people displaced by the storm and have donated more than $180,000 in prescription medicines to victims in Texas and Louisiana.
With the help of Kroger manufacturing plants and vendor partners, the company delivered 30 truckloads of food, water and other products to feed residents at the Houston Astrodome, and donated $50,000 to the North Texas Food Bank in Dallas. Cincinnati-based Kroger operates 215 stores in Texas and Louisiana.
While Kroger stores in Mississippi suffered only minor damage and loss of power in the storm, the company's Delta division, based in Memphis, mobilized quickly to reopen those stores and begin sending truckloads of water, food and other products to coastal communities battered by Katrina. The division has donated 55 truckloads of product to shelters and food bank operations in the affected region.
Kroger reached out with donations of $50,000 to governmental relief funds established by Mississippi and Arkansas to assist rebuilding efforts and evacuees. Additional donations of $50,000 were provided to similar organizations created by Jackson, Mississippi and Memphis. Earlier this week, the company donated $200,000 in school supplies to local school districts in Mississippi, Arkansas and Tennessee that have enrolled children displaced by Katrina.
Kroger stores and associates have been actively involved in assisting Hurricane Katrina's victims. Nearly 70 truckloads of food, water, baby food and personal care items have been collected through outreach projects in local stores. During a 10-day relief drive in Kansas, nearly 40 truckloads of food and other products were collected at three of Kroger's Dillon Stores locations, which served as the drop-off points for the regional event. Product donations are being directed to America's Second Harvest food banks, to be distributed in the communities assisting evacuees.
Individual stores around the country are partnering with smaller relief agencies at the local level to assist evacuees who have been moved to those areas. Company associates volunteered at shelters and food banks, collected food, clothing, toys and household items for families moving into the local community, and gathered school supplies and clothing for displaced children starting school in new locations.